July 2002

ihana.com - big trip - diary - venezuela - july 2002


Pleased to get a lift

Landying through the jungle

Monday 22 July

Trying to find the turn off for Las Trincheras, a village where boat trips to Para Falls are possible, we asked and old geezer for some help. He was heading that way so we gave him a lift and dropped him off at his pueblo. A further 40kms into the jungle we found the place we were looking for. Rolling up alongside a group of people sat outside a half finished house we found Freddy who said he'd take us to the falls. Agreeing on a discounted $120 deal, despite our total funds of $30, he amazingly said we could give him a lift to Cuidad Bolivar afterwards and get the rest of the cash from the bank. Freddy got hold of a fast boat, not the long touristy ones normally used, filled it with 180 litres of petrol, our hammocks, some food provided by us and his fishing kit, "I'm a good fisherman" he said as we zoomed south up the river.

Ready to go

River views

Feels faster than the landy

Indigenous kid...

...and his village

Making yucca bread

Night came and we'd made good progress, the river was 5 metres higher than normal, the highest since 1976, meaning the normally winding route around rocky islands wasn't necessary as most of them were well underwater. Unfortunately the high water level also means less animals to be seen but should make for impressive waterfalls. The night was spent on a tiny island, the tannin-rich brown water eliminating mosquitoes and the almost full moon reflecting off the water making up for Freddys failure to catch any fish.


Local dorises

Satphone in the jungle

Bags of cement...

...and cans of petrol...

...make viens pop

Setting off at dawn, no breakfast but we ate plenty of rice and corn the night before, we stopped to have a quick look around the nearby indian village. They live in adobe houses with thatched roofs, like most people in latin america so nothing new there, they do have some odd contraptions for making yucca bread though. Yucca itself isn't too exciting but the bread stuff is particularly minging, its available in towns too. A wicked thing they do have is special chile powder but we failed to get hold of any.

Arriving at a point 108kms upstream from Las Trincheras where the river is split by a large island into two massive sets of unavigable rapids there is a wide beach and an indian village. Here we set off on the 2 hour trek through the jungle with a local carrying a bag of cement in his rucksack with wicked tree bark straps. It was heavy and the straps dug in a lot but we both managed to carry it for a bit.


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